Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the fats contained in your blood. Cholesterol is necessary because it helps to build healthy cells in the body, but having high cholesterol can increase the risks for heart disease.
Fatty deposits develop in the blood vessels when you have high cholesterol and they can make it develop for enough blood to flow through the arteries. When this happens, your heart may not get the amount of oxygen-rich blood that it needs, which can lead to a heart attack. When blood flow to the brain decreases, you could suffer a stroke.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol, so the best way to detect it is with blood tests. While it can be inherited, it is largely preventable and treatable since it is caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices.* A healthier diet, exercise, and medication are all ways to reduce your cholesterol.*
What are the treatments?
Talk to your doctor about testing, although the recommended age for the first screening is a case by case basis.* Tests should be performed every five years or so.
* Individual results may vary.